Feline Health

FiP – Feline Infectious Peritonitis

What Is Feline Infectious Peritonitis?
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease that occurs worldwide in wild and domestic cats. It is caused by a type of virus called a coronavirus, which tends to attack the cells of the intestinal wall.


What Are the Symptoms of FIP?
FIP manifests in a “wet” form and a “dry” form. Signs of both forms include fever that doesn’t respond to antibiotics, anorexia, weight loss and lethargy. In addition, the wet form of FIP is characterized by accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, the chest cavity, or both. Cats with fluid in the chest exhibit labored breathing. Cats with fluid in the abdomen show progressive, nonpainful abdominal distension. In the dry form of FIP, small accumulations of inflammatory cells, or granulomas, form in various organs, and clinical signs depend on which organ is affected. If the kidneys are affected, excessive thirst and urination, vomiting and weight loss are seen; if the liver, jaundice. The eyes and the neurologic system are frequently affected, as well.


How Is FIP Diagnosed?
One of the most difficult aspects of FIP is that there is no simple diagnostic test.

FiV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

What Are the Symptoms of FIV?
An FIV-infected cat may not show any symptoms for years. Once symptoms do develop, however, they may continually progress -or a cat may show signs of sickness interspersed with health for years. If your cat is demonstrating any of the following symptoms, please have examined by your veterinarian:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Weight Loss
  • Disheveled Coat
  • Poor Appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal appearance or inflammation of the eye (Conjunctivitis)
  • Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
  • Inflammation of the mouth (Stomatitis)
  • Dental disease
  • Skin redness or hair loss
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from eyes or nose
  • Frequent urination, straining to urinate or urinating outside of the litter box
  • Behavior Change


  • How Is FIV Transmitted?
    FIV is mainly passed from cat to cat through deep bite wounds, the kind that usually occur outdoors during aggressive fights and territorial disputes-the perfect reason to keep your cat inside.

    Another, less common mode of transmission is from an FIV-infected mother cat to her kitten. FIV does not seem to be commonly spread through sharing food bowls and litter boxes, social grooming, sneezing and other casual modes of contact.


    How Is FIV Diagnosed?
    FIV infection is routinely diagnosed by blood testing. The FIV status of every cat should be known.


    How Is FIV Treated?
    Unfortunately, there is no specific antiviral treatment for FIV. Cats can carry the virus for a long time before symptoms appear. Therefore, treatment focuses mainly on extending the asymptomatic period or, if symptoms have set in, on easing the secondary effects of the virus. Your veterinarian may prescribe some of the following treatments:

  • Medication for secondary infections
  • Healthy, palatable diet to encourage good nutrition
  • Fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Immune-enhancing drugs
  • Parasite control


  • How Do I Care for My FIV-Infected Cat?

      Keep your cat indoors. This will protect him from contact with disease-causing agents to which he may be susceptible. By bringing your cat indoors, you’re also protecting the uninfected cats in your community.
      Watch for changes-even seemingly minor-in your cat’s health and behavior. Immediately report any health concerns to your vet.
      Bring your cat to your vet at least twice per year for a wellness checkup, blood count and urine analysis.
      Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced food-no raw food diets, please, as bacteria and parasites in uncooked meat and eggs can be dangerous to immunocompromised pets.
      Be sure your cat is spayed or neutered.



    What Can Happen if FIV Goes Untreated?
    Without proper treatment, the secondary infections that can occur as a consequence of FIV can progress to life-threatening conditions. Additionally, cats with FIV can develop various forms of cancer, blood diseases or kidney failure, which will ultimately claim the cat’s life.